Assisted Branch Channels: Boosting User Experience at the Bank

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By: James O'Brien|

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For banks, there has seldom, if ever, been a more important time to boost the roles of assisted branch channels, data analytics and digital tools. The banking industry is quickly becoming more and more competitive. As a recent industry report points out, there has been a stark rise in the number of startups with low marginal costs, agile enterprise-level disruptors and entrepreneurs looking for a piece of high-volume markets such as small businesses and consumer lending.

In the midst of this disruptive environment, bank customers are increasingly demanding anytime and anywhere access to accounts and services, and they expect increasingly personalized products. When banks fail to deliver, they risk losing the client loyalty that keeps their branches busy and drives growth along various channels.

One key approach to engaging banking customers and keeping them coming back is to bolster their experiences by leveraging assisted branch channels and supplementary digital tools.

Satisfying Customers By Creating Moments of Delight

Assisted branch channels will play a vital role in helping banks retain customers and improve value, loyalty and satisfaction. For instance, new teller-assisted ATMs provide customers with the best of both worlds: They give consumers the convenience of banking when and where they want, but there’s also the personal element of having a teller available over video.

“This technology gives customers easy, convenient access to ATM banking services with the added option of having a personal interaction and the support of a teller available at the push of a button,” explained Katy Knox, Retail Banking and Distribution executive at Bank of America.

This new type of human-to-human interaction provides banks with an opportunity to delight customers, but branch representatives need the right tools to make that happen — this is where data comes into play.

Giving Tellers Comprehensive Data on Customers

Tellers in the assisted branch space work best when they have a 360-degree view of the customer in front of them and can proactively access a customer’s history and established preferences. Real-time, data-driven service systems at the representative’s fingertips provide this functionality. To this end, data-driven dashboards can prompt branch representatives with suggestions that streamline and improve customers’ experiences. Those instances not only lead to client satisfaction and retention, but they also add to cross-sales opportunities that feel organic on both sides of the equation.

The potential of these services is large, but so is the chance of errors and downtime. For this reason, banks that implement data-driven dashboards as part of their assisted service channels often turn to data visualization partners. The bottom line is that managed vendor support services save time and resources for institutions looking to build out technology stacks to achieve competitive branch services.

Protecting Channel Uptime With Analytics

Preventive and predictive maintenance are also valuable tools when it comes to driving success at assisted branch channels. Predictive tools within a bank’s data analytics infrastructure show IT and customer representatives potential breakdowns in systems or conflicts within customer profiles so issues can be headed off. This helps banks avoid downtime and customer aggravation.

Preventive maintenance is also fueled by data, but it works to spot and correct anomalies that can bring down ATMs and the self-service digital platforms customers rely upon. Again, downtime decreases and customer satisfaction is better ensured. Banks don’t have to develop and staff predictive tools on their own — third-party partnerships can put deep skillsets in their corner.

Sustaining Assisted Branch Channels in Cost-Effective Ways

According to American Banker, the typical U.S. branch requires at least 5,000 teller transactions per month to justify the cost of operation. However, when banks can create assisted-channel roles for branch representatives to promote sales and enable the type of advice that brings about repeat business from customers, the network of person-to-person resources within the organization becomes more profitable. In this case, everybody wins.

As banks implement next-generation strategies such as assisted branch channels, one thing is certain: Banking customers are hungry for personalized, progressive, data-fueled transactions, and banks need to do everything possible to ensure consistent uptime to keep their customers happy.

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About The Author

James O'Brien

Freelance Writer

As a journalist and writer in the branded content space, James O'Brien covers business, technology, social media, marketing, film, food, wine, writing and news. The Nieman Journalism Lab has called his work in the custom content space "sponsored content done right." He has written for major regional newspapers, and he has managed and edited established, startup and turnaround newsrooms in varied markets, from community papers to major-city dailies. He consults for firms and businesses — startups to seasoned — on the creation of effective content strategies and the establishment of practical editorial calendars for enacting them. O'Brien holds a Ph.D. in Editorial Studies from the Editorial Institute at Boston University, where he researched and edited Bob Dylan's other-than-song writings. He is engaged in a bibliography for Oxford University Press, covering writings about filmmaker John Cassavetes. He is the author of "The Indie Writer's Survival Guide." His short stories and poetry are published in numerous journals and magazines.

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